Samoa’s two leaders both keen to meet following appeal court ruling

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Deadlocked
Planning to meet ... caretaker prime minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi and the prime minister-elect, leader of FAST, Tuila'epa's former deputy Fiame Naomi Mata'afa. Image: Tipi Autagavaia/RNZ

RNZ Pacific

The leaders of Samoa’s two main political parties have finally found something to agree upon since the April 9 general election – they will meet.

Following yesterday’s Court of Appeal ruling, both the caretaker prime minister Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi and prime minister-elect, FAST Party leader Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, announced they plan to meet.

But it is clear their intentions are miles apart.

Speaking on TV3 Samoa yesterday, Tuilaepa acknowledged the ruling to void the appointment of a sixth woman MP meant his HRPP has 25 seats to FAST’s 26.

Fiame told local media that with those numbers, they will be looking to meet with Tuila’epa to discuss his departure from office.

“We hope to meet with Tuila’epa, the leader of the HRPP and one who has been at the helm of our government, so we can discuss a transition based on the results as they stand of 26 FAST and 25 HRPP,” she said.

Tuila’epa, however, said he believed that his government was still the caretaker government until all election petitions and any resulting by-elections were completed.

In its decision the court said it held that the determination under Article 44(1A) of the Constitution must be made on the basis of the general election results as finally determined after the results of any electoral petitions under the Electoral Act 2019 and byelections pursuant to the terms of that Act.

Tuila’epa said it is clear that Parliament cannot convene until then.

“We have a chance to settle this in the traditional way,” he said.

It is not known when the meeting will take place.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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